One night, without distraction, I dreamed a vivid dream: I saw a large and beautiful drum filling the world with golden light and glowing like the sun. Beaming brightly to all places, it was seen from ten directions.
Everywhere buddhas were seated on thrones of precious lapis at the foot of jeweled trees facing assemblies of many hundreds of thousands.
I saw a form like that of a brahmin fiercely beat upon the drum; when he struck it, these verses issued forth:
By the sound of this majestic drum of golden light, may the suffering of lower migration, Yama and the poverty of the three realms of the triple thousand worlds cease to be.
By the sound of this majestic drum, may the ignorance of the world be dispelled. With fears quelled, just as vanquishing sages are unafraid, may sentient beings become fearless and brave.
Just as the Omniscient Vanquishing Sage in the world is possessed of every excellence of the aryas, may countless beings too possess oceans of qualities, concentration and the wings of enlightenment.
By the sound of this majestic drum, may all beings be endowed with the melody of Brahma; may they touch the sublime enlightenment of buddhas; may they turn the virtuous wheel of the Dharma.
Remaining for inconceivable eons, may they teach the Dharma to guide migrating beings. Conquering delusion and overcoming affliction, may their attachment, hatred and ignorance be pacified.
May sentient beings who have fallen to lower migrations, whose bodies of bone are alight with blazing flame, hear the speech of this majestic drum; may the proclamation “Homage to the Tathagata!” be heard.
In the course of hundreds of births and tens of thousands of millions of births, may every being remember their former lives, hear these teachings completely and always recall the vanquishing sages.
By the sound of this majestic drum, may beings always find the company of buddhas. Thoroughly renouncing every harmful act, may they engage in only virtuous deeds.
For humans, gods and all creatures, whatever thoughts and wishes they have, may their every wish be totally fulfilled by the sound of this majestic drum.
For beings born in the most terrible hells, bodies alight with blazing flame, who wander without aim, bereft of refuge, filled with grief, may tormenting fires utterly end.
For those who bear the suffering of humans, for hell beings, animals and hungry ghosts, may every suffering be completely dispelled by the sound of this majestic drum.
For those who are without refuge, without base, support or friend, may I become their supreme refuge, their base, their support and friend.
Supreme among bipeds, O buddhas dwelling in worlds of ten directions, with merciful, compassionate mind, please pay attention to me.
O buddhas possessed of the ten powers: those terrible wicked acts I have committed in the past, before your eyes, I confess them all.
Whatever unwholesome deeds I have done: not holding parents as parents, not holding buddhas as buddhas, not upholding virtuous deeds;
Whatever unwholesome deeds I have done: haughty with the vanity of wealth, haughty with age and youthfulness, haughty with pride of affluence and class; whatever unwholesome deeds I have done through harmful thoughts, harmful words, the thought of harm as harmless and harmful actions done;
Whatever unwholesome deeds I have done: acting with the mind of a child, a mind dark with ignorance or under the sway of a non-virtuous friend; greatly charged with emotion, discontent with wealth, afflicted with depression and malaise or under the impulse of frivolous play;
Whatever unwholesome deeds I have done through mixing with vile characters of non-aryas, through jealousy and miserliness and through poverty and guile;
Whatever unwholesome deeds I have done when poverty came to me, fearing loss of the desirable and stricken with a dearth of material goods;
Whatever unwholesome deeds I have done under the power of a flighty mind, ruled by desire and hatred or oppressed by hunger and thirst;
Whatever unwholesome deeds I have done when oppressed by affliction, for the sake of pursuing women, or acquiring food, drink and attire;
Through misdeeds of body, speech and mind, I have amassed threefold wrong acts. In these three ways, whatever I have done, these deeds I confess in full.
Whatever I have done, disrespecting buddhas, the Dharma, and shravakas too, these deeds I confess in full.
Actions I have done lacking respect to pratyekabuddhas, as well as to bodhisattvas, these deeds I confess in full.
Disrespect I have shown to those who preach the Dharma, likewise contempt of the Dharma itself, these deeds I confess in full.
Continually unaware of its benefit, I have rejected the sublime Dharma; I have shown unwitting insolence to parents; these deeds I confess in full.
Childish and veiled by stupidity, blind with desire and hatred, ignorance, arrogance and pride, these deeds I confess in full.
Honoring those who possess ten powers, I shall worship those dwelling in all directions. I shall deliver sentient beings inhabiting every realm from all suffering.
I shall place uncountable beings upon the bodhisattvas’ ten grounds. Abiding in these ten stages, may they all become tathagatas.
Until I am capable of freeing them all from countless oceans of suffering, for ten million eons I shall strive for the sake of even one sentient being.
To these sentient beings I shall reveal this sutra called Sublime Golden Light, which rids one of every harmful misdeed and expounds upon the profound.
Those who for a thousand eons committed deadly unwholesome deeds, by confessing them earnestly once through this sutra, all will be purified.
Swiftly and wholly consuming all karmic obstructions by making confession through Sublime Golden Light, I shall abide on the ten bodhisattva grounds – those mines of supreme precious jewels – that I may shine with a tathagata’s marks and signs and free beings from the ocean of existence.
Through buddhas, who are the water of oceans – their inconceivable tathataga qualities akin to the ocean's profound depth – I shall evolve into an omniscient being.
Becoming a buddha, I shall possess ten powers, hundreds of thousands of concentrations, inconceivable magical mantra incantations, enlightenment’s seven wings, the five powers and five forces.
O buddhas who continually look upon beings, I request you to gaze intently upon me. Your compassionate minds always overflowing, may you hold the remorseful always near.
Due to countless sinful actions performed in hundreds of eons past, my mind is pierced and stricken with grief, wretchedness, sorrow and fear.
Solemnly fearing unwholesome deeds, I shall always keep my mind modest. Wherever I commit the smallest action, I will not succumb to frivolous excitement.
Since buddhas are compassionate and dispel the fright of all beings, I entreat them to hold the remorseful fast and free us from every fear.
May the tathagatas keep at bay my negative karma and emotion. May the buddhas always bathe me with the water of their compassion. I confess all unwholesome deeds: whatever I have done in the past, whatever is done in the present, these deeds I confess in full. I shall not conceal or hide harmful actions I have done. In future times I shall refrain from deeds that render me full of shame. Three actions of the body, fourfold of the voice, threefold of the mind, these deeds I confess in full.
Actions I have done through body and speech, clearly impelled by the mind, those tenfold actions I accomplished, these deeds I confess in full.
Renouncing the ten unwholesome deeds and cultivating those ten which are moral, I will come to abide on the ten grounds and acquire the buddhas’ ten great powers.
Every unwholesome deed I have done that leads to unwanted results, in the presence of the buddhas, these deeds I confess in full.
In the wholesome virtuous deeds of all those dwelling in Jambudvipa, and those living in other worlds too, in these deeds, I rejoice.
Likewise, whatever merit I have gathered through body, speech and mind, by the force of this virtue’s ripening effect, may supreme enlightenment be attained.
Deeds committed on samsara’s precarious wheel, those actions influenced by a childish mind, approaching the presence of the peerless ten powers, all these deeds, I confess individually. Through feeble birth, feeble existence, feeble world and feeble volatile mind, multitudes of physical actions, this mass of evil deeds, I confess in full.
Wretched with delusion of the childish and foolish, wretched through association with non-virtuous friends, wretched with existence, wretched with desire, wretched with hatred, wretched with ignorance, wretched with fatigue, wretched with time, and wretched in accomplishing virtue, I approach the incomparable conquerors and confess all negative deeds individually.
I prostrate to the buddhas, oceans of virtue, golden like Mount Sumeru. Going for refuge, I bow my head in prostration to the golden conquerors.
Their compassionate light dispels the double mantle of darkness; buddhas are suns, blazing glory, splendor and renown. Golden in color, eyes fine as pure, faultless lapis, they glow with the glitter of pure gold.
Their exquisite and beautiful limbs are utterly flawless and perfectly formed; from pristine limbs, the buddhas’ sun radiates shafts of golden light.
Consumed by the flame of negative passion, sentient beings blaze like fire; they are refreshed and soothed by the moon-like light of buddhas.
Thirty-two major marks render their senses exquisitely refined; their awe-inspiring limbs are graced by eighty minor signs. Filled with merit and glory, like splendid rays of spinning light, they orbit as does the sun in the darkness of the triple realms.
Pure as lapis with an array of rich color, exquisitely adorned by myriad webs of light, your limbs resemble the crystal, silver and crimson of dawn; like the sun, O sages, you are enchantingly glorious!
For those fallen into the great river of cyclic existence, tossed amidst crushing waves of sorrow and death, may abundant immense rays of the sun that is the Tathagata deplete the ocean of samsara, violent and cruel.
With limbs shining brightly, the color of gold, they are wisdom’s source, peerless among the three realms; their limbs are adorned with intensely charming marks. I prostrate to the buddhas whose bodies sparkle gold.
Just as water in the ocean cannot be measured, just as dust on the earth is utterly without end, just as Mount Sumeru possesses matchless stone and the edge of space is infinitely unknown, likewise, the virtues of buddhas are limitless. If sentient beings took the measure of their qualities and for countless eons reflected upon them, still the extent of their virtue could not be seen.
If counted for eons, one may possibly know water droplets at hair ends, or particles of the earth’s mountains, oceans and rocks, but not the limit of buddhas’ virtue.
May sentient beings evolve into such buddhas, graced with virtue, color, fame and renown, their bodies embellished with major marks of goodness and the sublime eighty minor signs.
Through these virtuous actions, I shall soon become a buddha on this earth. Preaching the doctrine that guides the world, I shall free beings forever afflicted by suffering.
I shall triumph over Mara with his army and might. I shall turn the wheel of virtuous Dharma. Abiding for inconceivable eons, I shall satisfy sentient beings with the water of Dharma’s nectar.
Just as conquerors of the past completed six perfections, these perfections I too shall fully achieve. My ignorance, hatred and desire pacified, I shall conquer delusion and dispel pain.
I shall always remember my former births, hundreds of existences and ten millions of lives. Always recalling the vanquishing sages, I shall listen to their teachings in full.
Through these virtuous actions, I shall always find the company of buddhas; accomplishing virtue, the source of every excellence, I shall thoroughly renounce unwholesome deeds.
May the creatures of samsara’s various realms be at peace, without the misery of their worlds. May beings who lack sense faculties or hold defective ones, be endowed with powers complete.
For beings feeble in body, afflicted with disease and in all ten directions devoid of defense, may they swiftly be free of their ailments, obtain perfect senses, strength and good health.
For those imperiled by threats and death from kings or thugs, tormented by numerous hundreds of afflictions, may these beings – wretched, weak with sorrow – be free from hundreds of horrific fears.
For those who are tortured, bound and beaten, distressed by passion or captured by delusion, may these beings – fearful, faced with sorrow – be freed from the shackles of bondage.
May those who are beaten find freedom from beating. May those facing murder be endowed with life. May those who are feeble be without fear. May beings tortured by hunger, craving and thirst, immediately find a wealth of food and drink.
May the blind see an abundance of forms and the deaf hear captivating sounds. May the naked find plentiful attire and the poor find mines of treasure. Through wealth of riches, grain and jewels, may beings be endowed with serenity and joy.
May no being face the pain of affliction. May all beings be attractive and handsome. Endowed with exquisite, beautiful, auspicious forms, may every life be replete with infinite joy.
As soon as they wish, may there immediately be food, drink, great affluence and merit, large drums, lutes and piwang, springs, pools, water holes and ponds. Imbued with blue and golden lotuses; likewise, may they receive at once food, drink, clothing and wealth, gems like lapis, golden ornaments, pearls and jewels. May no sound of woe be heard anywhere in the world and not one being in poor health be seen. Instead, may beings have great complexion; in each other’s radiance, may they mutually shine.
Whatever forms of excellence there are in the human world, wherever they are wished for, may these come to be. The moment they arise, through the ripening of virtue, may the aspirations of sentient beings be fulfilled.
May perfumed incense, garlands and ointments, clothing, powder and abundant flowers rain down from the trees three times. Thus may sentient beings be filled with joy.
May they venerate inconceivable tathagatas in all the ten directions, completing bodhisattvas, shravakas, and likewise, the flawless, pristine Dharma.
May migrating beings avoid the lower realms; may they go beyond the eight unfortunate states; may they attain the eight auspicious conditions; may meetings with buddhas always be received.
Always born in higher classes, may beings be replete with wealth and with grain. For numerous eons, may they be endowed with great form, renown, complexion and fame.
May all women become like men, heroic, learned, lucid and strong. Endeavoring to complete the six perfections, may they incessantly strive for enlightenment.
May they come to behold buddhas in the ten directions, seated at ease upon precious lapis thrones under bejeweled exquisite stately trees. May they hear the buddhas’ Dharma explained.
Unwholesome deeds I have performed and created in wretched existences past; may those negative effects which ripen due to deeds be completely extinguished.
May those beings who are tied to existence, tightly bound by the rope of the cyclic round, unravel their bondage with a wisdom hand and quickly be freed from all suffering.
Whatever beings here in Jambudvipa and in other world spheres too perform profound virtuous acts, in these deeds, I rejoice in full.
Through the merit of actions of body, speech and mind, through rejoicing in others’ virtue, may every fruit of my prayers and practice unfold; may the pristine peerless enlightenment be attained.
Those who recite this dedication, who prostrate and praise with an unsoiled mind, always devout and free of stains, shall avoid terrible rebirth for sixty eons.
By reciting these prayers in verses, men, women, brahmins and royals who praise the conquerors with folded hands, will remember their births in every life.
They shall receive bodies adorned with complete limbs and senses, myriad merits and virtue. The lord of humans will honor them always; such will they be in each place of birth.
Those into whose ears this confession enters, have not performed virtue under just one buddha, not two, nor four, nor five, nor ten, nor in the presence of merely a thousand buddhas have they completed virtue.
This ends the fourth chapter, the Chapter on Confession, from the King of Glorious Sutras, the Sublime Golden Light.